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are considered a military attack on iran's nuclear facilities. >>> the united states and 33 other countries are taking part in a large-scale military exercise in the persian gulf. it's one of the world's key oil transport routes. the u.s.-led military drill comes amid a deepening rift between iran and the west over tehran's nuclear development program. our crews spent time on board a u.s. support ship and a japanese minesweeper to take a firsthand look at the drill. sho beppu reports. >> reporter: this u.s. navy support ship was built 41 years ago and was due to be decommissioned earlier this year. it was originally used for land troops, but it has been since equipped for minesweeping duties. it has been deployed in the region since june. the ship is at the center of the naval exercise, which is aimed at strengthening the ability of the participants to keep shipping lanes open in the persian gulf. iran has threatened to choke off ship traffic passing through the strait of hormuz in the gulf. >> the exercise area is approximately 45 to 50 miles off of bahrain, and we are -- >> 80 miles. >> -
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